I’m back! I finally had time to write again! I’ve missed writing for the blog and sharing my experiences with you. I’ve been away for awhile and one of the reasons is because we moved again! This was our 4th move as a couple and first with children.
As you can imagine, it was much harder this time. Deciding to move was a difficult decision for us now that we had to uproot our son from his school, sports and friends. Not to mention we had to sell the house where we brought our two kids home for the first time; I will cherish the memories we made in that house forever.
House hunting in our new city was more difficult and time consuming than previous moves because we had two young children to care for and entertain during the search.
Now we’re finally settled in to our new house and loving it! My son has a new school, we’ve all made new friends and I’m settling into my new life as a stay-at-home-mom. I’m happy to say the whole family is happier than ever. 🙂
During my break from the blog I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction I want to go with it. My original motive for the blog was to encourage women engineers. I also wanted to prove that we can do it all: be a great engineer, be a mom, and be a wife. But I’ve found that I couldn’t do that. Engineering is a demanding field that still has a way to go in providing good work-life balance for working parents. Especially in the energy industry, which is where I worked.
I didn’t have a working mom mentor. I worked with very few other women over the years and rarely did they have children. I wish I had been working with an engineer or manager who was also a mom at the time I had my children so I could have asked her for advice about work-life balance and looked to her for inspiration and encouragement.
Instead, I lost my way when I was trying to balance engineering with being a mom.
A year ago I thought I had it all being able to work part-time and still spend time home with my kids. Earlier this year I was given a performance rating which was lower than I felt I deserved based on my work the previous year.
I was ranked in the average/meets expectations group, which is great, but I expected to be ranked higher within that group. This rating came following a year in which I worked part-time and had a child. I felt I was being compared to full-time workers who’d been with the company many years and who did not take maternity leave. I was supposed to be evaluated as a part-time worker, but all my coworkers were full-time so I know my performance was compared against what they were able to achieve. Also, since I was new the company (my previous company was bought out the year before) not all the reviewing managers knew me.
Working part-time left me just enough time to complete my goals. When I switched from full-time to part-time work, my job description and role never changed. I still covered the same work area and had the same deliverables as when I was full-time, but I now had fewer hours to get it all done. Basically, this meant I was usually able to meet my goals, but I didn’t have time to seek out extra work to go above and beyond my goals.
However, I did feel that I did put in extraordinary time and effort to deliver on my goals (including often working more than my set part-time work hours and working up until a few days before my baby was born), so I was disappointed to hear that I wasn’t being rewarded for my hard work.
When a short-time later a voluntary severance package was offered, I was ready to take a break from the corporate world and spend time at home with my kids. My disappointment with my rating was not a main reason why I opted to stay at home (I explained the main reasons behind my choice in my previous post), but it was something that weighed heavily on me at the time.
I never thought I would become a stay-at-home-mom after my years of hard work to get an engineering degree followed by over ten years working as an engineer. My whole adult life has revolved around being an engineer, and now I’m not sure what to do with my life beyond being a mom.
I’m loving my time at home with my kids as a stay-at-home-mom, but I still have a desire to work. My husband is completely in the what’s mine is yours camp and his salary alone is enough to support our family. Also, we have saved as much money as we could over the years and have no debt. But I’m someone who likes working and wants to teach my kids the value of hard work.
So how do I do this if I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to work as an engineer? I’m not completely sure yet. For now I’m going to focus on the blog.
I’m going to return to writing STEM for Kids posts and provide fun activities for babies and toddlers. I will also write more posts about my time as an engineer and about my choice to leave engineering.
I want to share more of your inspiring stories too.
We haven’t had any new interviews with women engineers on the blog for awhile. I’m interested in interviewing more new moms. I’d like to hear from those of you who have continued working (how did you make it work?) and also those who left engineering to be stay-at-home-moms (why did you decide to leave?).
Please contact me if you’re interested in being interviewed!